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Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade insists FA Cup tie at Gloucester City would have been a 'farce' and says he has the squad to handle fixture congestion
Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade insists Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Gloucester City would have been a ‘farce’, after Gloucester City boss David Mehew criticised the decision to postpone the match due to a waterlogged pitch.
Slade and officials from Gloucerster City checked the pitch with the referee before the match was called off at midday but Mehew said he was frustrated he had not been consulted.
The O’s boss though believes it would have been impossible for the match to have been played.
He said: “The representatives from Gloucester and the referee were there and I was there. It wasn’t what I wanted – I mean how many miles did I travel to get to the ground?
“But when the referee made the decision at the time he was spot on because it wasn’t playable, there’s no doubt in my mind at all it wasn’t playable.
“If by 3 o’ clock it was playable you’d have needed a crystal ball to see that, but the referee wanted to make an early decision rather than to delay it which is fair enough given the distances fans had to travel.”
Despite Mehew’s assertion that the pitch at Gloucester drains very well, Slade believes the surface would have disintegrated and the game would have been ruined.
“I didn’t want the game to run into a farce,” Slade continued.
“By 3.30 the pitch would have been an absolute mess. At the end of the day who wants to lose the football match on the back of a back pass stopping in the grass and in the water?
“The ball wasn’t bouncing at all in some areas and there was standing water on the pitch.”
The match has been rearranged for Wednesday, November 14 meaning Leyton Orient will now have to deal with a congested calendar that sees the O’s play two games every week throughout this month.
Orient though can take comfort from the fact that both Kevin Lisbie and Scott Cuthbert travelled with the squad to the match against Milton Keynes last night.
Slade said: “We were hoping we were over the worst in October but it’s conspired again that obviously there could be more fixtures and two games a week will come along with that but at least we have one or two players who are much closer to full fitness now.
“If we can stay fit we’ve got the squad to deal with it but we’re going to need everyone to a man to be available and what with the Christmas period coming up it won’t get any easier.
“But the positive side of it is we’re still in two cup competitions and that’s why we’ve got more cup fixtures than most.”
Orient’s progress in the FA Cup and the Football League Trophy, where they face a trip to Northampton in the Southern Section Quarter-Final on Tuesday, December 4, offers a welcome relief from a league campaign that’s taken a dip of late.
But Slade insists there hasn’t been a lot wrong with his side and that they have used the break to regroup and improve.
“It’s been a good time to draw breath and get a little bit of time into the players and to work on things on the training ground,” said Slade.
“The only thing we were lacking in some of the defeats was the fact that we couldn’t score - we had the chances, we created the chances, but we couldn’t score.
“So we’ve worked on things going forward – finishing, getting good delivery into the box and making sure we’re being really positive in terms of our movement in and around the box.”
As Slade’s team were set to take on MK Dons last night, Orient sat 19th in League One.
But the O’s boss believes there’s no reason why his players can’t rediscover their form and climb up the table.
“We are in no better a position now than when we were in the season when we missed out on the playoffs by a point,” he added.
“It’s all about momentum and with a fit squad, I do think we are capable of going on a run.
“History tells you we’ve done it several times before. The target is still to climb the table and then see where it takes us.”